Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

I'm not one for making New Year's resolutions. I understand why people make them -- the beginning of a new year makes for a convenient time to start something new or make a change (just like a student plans at the beginning of the new school year to make it the best school year ever). All that to say, 2014 was a lot about me and my transformation -- completely unplanned, but amazing. Now, I want 2015 to be about other people. God has blessed me in amazing ways this past year and taught me so much and I want to reach other people this coming year and help to transform their lives. (Ive got some cool ideas in my head that I hope I can pull off.)

I want to help people learn how to make healthier choices.
I want to help people learn more about essential oils and their amazing benefits.
I want to help people learn how to eat correctly and supplement...and create a healthy lifestyle from the inside out.
I want to help people get the "crud" out of their systems and their environment.
Most importantly, I want people to see Jesus through me and be drawn by his love and grace.

I would also like to be able to pee alone. ;)

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for an amazing 2014. I can't wait to see what's next in 2015! Happy New Year!

Monday, December 22, 2014

DIY Recipes

Okay, here are the recipes for some of the items I have made recently.

1. Homemade Deodorant (my favorite)

The original recipe calls for Castor Oil and Beeswax, but we heard that the beeswax can stain clothes so I made it without it and it works fine.

2 1/2 Tbsp Coconut Oil (I recommend Wildtree coconut oil)
1/8 cup Arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
1/8 cup Baking Soda
Essential oils -- I did 8 drops of Lavender and 8 drops of Melaleuca Alternifolia (tea tree oil)

Put the coconut oil into a saucepan and melt over low heat. Remove from heat and add the Arrowroot powder and Baking soda. Stir until it is dissolved. Add the essential oils and stir to combine. Using a funnel, pour the mixture into a clean deodorant container. Put container in the fridge to help it firm up.

This recipe makes one stick of deodorant. I usually double/triple it and make more than one stick at a time. When using the deodorant, you only need to apply a thin layer under your arms. If you roll it up too much, it'll end up making a mess. ;)

2. Homemade Hair Gel

This is SUPER easy to make. You must keep it in the refrigerator and is good for two weeks.

1/4 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (
1/2 cup hot distilled water
4-6 drops essential oils (I used lavender)

Add the water to the gelatin in a glass bowl and stir until dissolved. Put bowl in fridge for around three hours. Remove from fridge and add oils. Using a funnel, pour into container. I used a glass spray bottle. The recipe is thin enough to just spray it onto your hair. If you prefer something thicker, you can used 1/2 teaspoon gelatin (instead of 1/4 teaspoon) and put it in a glass jar.

3. Homemade Shampoo

Still not sure what I think about it, but feel free to try it for yourself. If you live near me, I can even lend you the ingredients!

This is the basic recipe. I added some peppermint oil and tea tree oil to mine.

1/4 cup distilled water
1/4 cup liquid Castille soap (I used the Dr. Bronner's unscented baby mild -- shockingly, I found it the cheapest at Whole Foods!)
1/2 teaspoon JoJoBa oil (or grapeseed oil)

Mix all the ingredients in a bottle. Shake before using. This shampoo is thinner than commercial shampoos, so you can just pour the shampoo right on your head.

4. Homemade Conditioner

This is basic, but the idea is that it balances the pH in your hair from the homemade shampoo.

1 Tbsp raw ACV (apple cider vinegar)
1 cup of water

Mix together in a squirt bottle. Shake well before applying to hair. Gently massage into hair and scalp for a minute or two then rinse it out. The smell rinses away -- don't worry!

I hope you have fun trying these out. I'm having a blast creating new things with my oils and other natural ingredients. :)

Friday, December 19, 2014

My DIY Adventure

I've mentioned before how I started making my own deodorant and love it. Well, chemical-free hair products can be expensive, so I decided to start looking for a cheaper way to have safer products for my hair by making my own shampoo, conditioner, and hair gel. Yep. All three. (This time last year, I would have been rolling my eyes if someone said they were making their own hair products, yet here I am now -- oh the difference a year makes!).

First up: Homemade Hair Gel

My husband is actually the one who put the idea in my head to try making my own hair gel. I've talked so much about getting rid of harmful chemicals that he asked me if he thought the gel he was using was bad for him. Next thing I knew, I was looking for homemade hair gel recipes, saw how easy they were to make, and decided to go for it!

The results of this gel  are great! The gel is thin, so I put it in a glass bottle with and spray top (got it at Whole Foods). Sprayed it all over my wet hair, scrunched it up (I have naturally wavy/curly hair), and let it air-dry. It was light, kept the curls together, but didn't look like I had product in it. As my nieces have said to my sister before: "why does Aunt Dana's hair always look wet?" No need to worry about them saying that now (unless they see me just after I do my hair and it is still wet. ;) ). Plus, it has Lavender essential oil in it, so I get to take my essential oils with me. :)

I'm going to make another batch with more gelatin so it's a little bit more thicker and put it in a glass jar for my husband to try out. I'll let you know what he thinks (if he actually tries it out. God bless that man -- I've made him try so many different things this year).

Second: Homemade Shampoo and Conditioner

I figured that if I was going to do the hair gel, I might as well see if there is a more affordable way to wash my hair naturally.

 I'm still working this one out. The homemade shampoo looked fine with my curly hair that I let air-dry, but when I brushed it out before bed, it definitely had a greasy feel/look to it. I don't think it's actually grease as much as soap/oil left in it. The conditioner is just a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water in a spray bottle (to help balance out the pH after doing the shampoo). Used both products for the first time yesterday. Today, I did my Arbonne shampoo (no chemicals/all natural) and the homemade conditioner. My hair felt great. I think I need to tweak the shampoo formula a little bit, mix it more before putting it on my head, and use a little less around the crown of my head and it should work better. I will keep you up to date on how it goes.

Anyways, it's been fun trying to make new things and SO affordable. It is so incredibly cheap to make your own products and get the unnecessary chemicals out of your house. I can post the recipes I used in future posts if anyone is interested. :)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

36 Years of Blessings

When I was in Junior High, High School, and College, whenever I would think about the future, it always stopped at age 24 -- I imagined that by 24 I would be done with college, have a job, and married. I clearly remember sitting on my bed at my parents' house and crying on my 25th birthday -- I had finished grad school six months earlier, moved home to save money, just quit the job I got after grad school, and was dating no one. In fact, I had few friends in my life. I wasn't crying because I wasn't where I thought I should be, but because I had no idea what would come next. I had NEVER imagined life past age 24. I remember praying that God would just lead me and show me where to go because I had NO CLUE.

Now here I am at age 36 and I could never have imagined how amazing my life would be. As much as I imagined falling in love and meeting the right guy, I never knew how wonderful it would be to be married to an amazing man of God who sincerely loves me and cherishes me (it was worth waiting to find love until I was 27 and getting married at 28). I always knew I wanted children, but had no idea what a mother's love was until I became one five years ago.

I've mentioned a lot in my blog posts recently how my life has changed this past my facebook wall filled with Happy Birthday messages yesterday from friends old and new, I was blown away at the number of people who have come into my life the past year and call me a friend.

God has filled my life with numerous blessings over the years. At times, it seemed like I was going in a different direction every day (ask me how many times I changed my college major, etc.) and there were times that trusting God's guidance was a real struggle, but I am where I am today, because God has lead me, molded me, held me, and never left my side. Our God is real and powerful and loving. God has never promised us an easy life without hardship or pain and I know those times will always be there in the future, but I cling to these blessings and to a God who loves me so much that he sent his son Jesus as a baby (Merry Christmas) to grow up and save me from my sins. Nothing compares to the blessing of Jesus as my Savior.

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of my life recently or years ago. I treasure you and I look forward to seeing what God has in store for my life this next year.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

RESETing My System

Last week I completed a 5-day nutritive cleanse and detox through USANA called Reset and it was AWESOME! I felt great and had so much energy. I still have so much energy. If you have ever done a cleanse or are doing one and you feel might want to try something different.

Here's how it works: I had a Nutrimeal shake (Dutch Chocolate is my favorite -- Dairy-free and gluten-free) for breakfast with a set of supplements called a HealthPak (includes a Mega Antioxidant and Chelated Mineral, Active Calcium, and an AntiOxidant booster for additional protection) and a Hepisal (to detox the liver). These supplements help to provide the nutrition and protection needed while resetting the system. 2-3 hours later I had a low-glycemic snack (usually an apple with 7 almonds or celery with natural almond butter). The typical USANA Reset kit comes with bars that you can eat for snacks, but I'm picky about bars, so decided to do my own snacks. Lunch was another Nutrimeal shake with a Hepisal. I had another low-glycemic snack 2-3 hours later. Finally, a Nutrimeal shake for dinner with another HealthPak and Hepisal. I also drank over 12 glasses of water a day.

It's amazing how getting the "yuk" out of your system and filling it with good things (the supplements) can give you so much energy. Testimonial to the energy: I love my church, but with a lack of sleep many days from staying up late and my kids getting up early, I often struggle to stay alert and awake during the sermon. This past Sunday, I was completely engaged during the entire sermon (which was fantastic) while still functioning on less than six hours of sleep.

Even if you don't want to do a cleanse, I highly recommend the USANA vitamins. They are simply the best. And the Nutrimeal! I drink them for breakfast every morning. Want more info? I would be happy to get some for you. I love helping people create a healthier lifestyle and environment. :)

Monday, December 08, 2014

Top 10 Essential Oils

As promised, here is a list of my top 10 favorite essential oils and how it use them:

1. Peppermint

I use peppermint for so many things. Peppermint wakes you up and keeps you more alert. I put it in my morning Nutrimeal shake, put it on my wrists and behind my neck before/during long workouts, and inhale it to relieve any nasal congestion. I also put it on my stomach for any abdominal discomfort.

2. Lavender

This is the utility knife of oils -- it does SO much. I'll give you a quick testimony: a couple months ago, my 3-year-old daughter had a large board fall and hit her on the head. She obviously was crying and as I held her, I noticed that her head was bleeding. I quickly put Lavender on the wound to slow/stop the bleeding. The cut was only about a 1/2 inch long, but was split apart. I kept applying lavender and then applied an invisible liquid bandage. After an hour I did the lavender and bandage again. Since it was getting close to her bedtime, I took her to immediate care to have them look at it, just to make sure it was okay. They cleaned the area and the doctor said it looked great and that if I had taken her straight there and not done anything, they would have given her 1 or 2 staples in the head! So glad I used my lavender!

3. Thieves

I put a drop of Thieves on my kids' feet every morning before we head out the door to help boost their immune system and ward of the germs. I also diffuse Thieves in my house whenever there is illness to help get rid of the germs in the air.

4. Purification

I love diffusing Purification to get rid of any poopy, gassy, or bad dog smells. It totally gets rid of any bad odors in the air without leaving a strong odor behind.

5. Raven

I was diagnosed with allergy-induced asthma a year ago. I love using Raven for my Asthma. Usually, if I started having an asthma coughing fit, I would take my rescue inhaler and all would be good. Now, if I have the cough or feel my chest tighten, I simply rub a few drops of Raven on my chest and I instantly feel better. LOVE it. I also put it on my chest before exercising to help me breathe.

6. Lemon

I put lemon in my water every morning to help detoxify. It is SO good. Also, when I got stung by a bee this summer, I put lemon and lavender on it right away and probably 15 minutes later there was no sign that I had every been stung.

7. Aroma Siez

When I was struggling with Achilles Tendinitis this Spring/Fall, I used Aroma Siez and it brought me instant relief. As soon as I feel an ache there or the beginning of Plantar Fascitis, I apply a drop of Aroma Siez and the pain dissipates.

8. Stress Away

This is constantly on me. Kids are arguing, I put on Stress Away. Stuck in traffic, I put on Stress Away. I have to go to the grocery store, I put on Stress Away. SOOO GOOD!

9. Deep Relief

A few months ago, I somehow tweaked my neck/upper back. I couldn't move my head at all without shooting pains traveling down through my neck, shoulders, and spine. I instantly began running Deep Relief all over the area and the pain started to dull, I continued to apply it until I went to bed that evening. The next morning, I was a little sore, but no pain. Yea!

10. Melrose

Melrose is a natural Neosporin. It is great for cuts and also numbs. When I have a canker sore, I apply Melrose to it first to numb the area and then apply Thieves to help heal it (Thieves alone on a canker sore stings like crazy!).

So, those are 10 of my favorite essential oils, but there are TONS more great ones that I use. What are some of your favorite essential oils?

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Top Ten Things I'm Loving Right Now

Top ten lists seem to be pretty popular these days, so here is a list of my top 10 favorite things right now:

1. Young Living Essential Oils -- these have totally changed how I approach illness, injury, etc. I will do a top ten list of my favorite oils (and why) in my next post.

2. USANA Nutrimeal -- I am currently on day two of a 5-day cleanse and detox with USANA called Reset (great name since you are resetting your system to make better food choices, etc.). I researched a lot of different cleanses and this one came out on top. Why? First of all, their products are the best out there -- tons of legit research (and my kids actually like their vitamins). Secondly, I LOVE their Nutrimeal and have been drinking it for breakfast for months. I am picky with drinks, etc. and can't stand any form of artificial sweetener. USANA uses fructose as a sweetener, which is the natural sugar found in fruit, so it is tasty and low-glycemic. I drink the Dutch Chocolate Nutrimeal (with a drop of Peppermint essential oil) which is also dairy-free and gluten-free. Everyone should try it and I am loving the Reset so far! :)

3. My Norwex Dry and Wet mop -- okay, I actually love everything about Norwex. Have you heard about Norwex? You clean with JUST WATER! It's a great way to get the chemicals out of your house. I'm kind of addicted to these products, but I decided to just highlight one. I used to get on my hands and knees to clean my hardwood floors, now it's quick and fast and no pain to my knees. Yea!

4. Wildtree Alfredo Extraordinaire -- Wildtree products taste fantastic, are mostly organic, and a healthy way to spice up your meals. The Wildtree Alfredo Extraordinaire is by far my favorite (and I'm not a big Alfredo sauce person).

5. Lifefactory glass water bottle -- I love adding citrus essential oils (lemon, grapefruit, etc.) to my water. It's important to use glass when dealing with pure essential oils as they can affect the materials in plastic. I bought mine through, but they also sell it at Whole Foods.

6. My homemade deodorant! Yes, it works great and it was SOOOO easy to make. If you want the recipe, just let me know and I can send it to you...or I'll just make some for you!

7. I have to add another Norwex product -- the Fluff and Tumble dryer balls. They work amazing to dry clothes, without using dryer sheets that have TONS of harmful chemicals on them. Plus, I just add a couple of drop of essential oils to the balls after the clothes are dry (then run on air dry for ten minutes) and my clothes smell great too!

8. Our new Kenmore vacuum that we just got during the Black Friday sales (online). It has great suction, a dirt sensor that tells you when you need to focus a little bit more on a certain area, the ability to lower the top almost completely flat to the ground so that you can get under beds, and other great features. So glad it finally went on sale and we could get it!

9. My church. I love my church. Yes, it's the church I grew up in. Yes, it has changed a lot over the years. But one thing has never changed -- it's beliefs. I have been involved in different ways over years, met my husband working with the high school ministry there, and continue to serve through the choir and worship ministry. If you're ever looking for a solid community of people check out Naperville Presbyterian Church:

10. These people. My family are my life and mean the world to me. I thank God everyday for giving me such an amazing husband and children. I don't take them for granted a single second. Be thankful everyday for the people God has put in your life. I am also thankful for a wonderful extended family (parents, etc.) that I love to spend time with and constantly encourage me and care for me.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Five Years Ago Today...

Five years ago today my life changed for the better.

Five years ago today began one of the greatest adventures of my life.

Five years ago, Edmund David was born and Walter and I became parents. He came earlier and in a way I never could have planned or expected (go back to the last blog post I did in 2009 to read his incredible birth story) and stole my heart.

He started out as the most easy laid-back baby ever, but once he started walking at 14-months, he was all over the place and has never slowed down. He is our crazy extrovert, which makes things interesting for two introverted parents, who loves life and lives it to the fullest. He loves people and anyone he meets he instantly calls his "best friend." It's been so amazing to watch him grow and change. I love hearing his stories and everything he learned at school that day -- he's learning to spell/write his last name right now (poor child). He loves his little sister and is so helpful with her. The two play together all the time and are the best of friends. It warms my heart.

Every morning starts with him running to me and jumping in my arms for a big hug. His smile lights up my day (and check out his amazing eyelashes!).

He has a servant heart, like his daddy, and loves to find ways to help me and others. He adores his daddy and looks more like him every day. The two have a sweet, special bond.

I'm so thankful for the sweet, funny, silly, playful, loving, wrestling, tackling, snuggly, smart, outgoing, friendly, little boy. I love you, Edmund David. You made me a mommy and changed my life forever.

Happy 5th birthday!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

My Little Princess Turns 3!

My sweet little Elise Madeleine turns 3 years old today! Where has the time gone!

One day old 

11 months old 

2 years, 11 months old

I am so thankful for my fun, smart, silly, crazy, busy, stubborn, cuddly, loving little girl. I love her smile and big hug first thing in the morning when she wakes up (even though it's around 5:45/6:00am). I love how she could spend all day in my arms -- and I will hold her as much as I can. I love her relationship with her older brother -- how she plays with him, adores him, and will tackle him when he's not looking. I love her fearlessness and playfulness. I love her beautiful eyes and long eyelashes that make it soooo hard to tell her "no." I love that even though she is just turning 3, she already has quite the opinion -- and I pray that her strong-will continues in life so that she will hold tight to her beliefs and values when surrounded by peer pressure. I love how deeply she loves her daddy and looks forward to spending time with him. I love that God gave me a girl when I thought I only wanted boys -- she is such a treasure.

As sad as I am that she is growing up so fast, I look forward to watching my My Little Pony-loving girl grow up. Happy birthday, Elise Madeleine! You are so loved.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Young Life Lived Well

This past Sunday evening, the world lost a beautiful life.

In just 18 short years of life, Clari de la Cruz did more and served more than most people ever do. She loved with a passion. She was full of joy and encouragement. She could welcome and engage anyone. And she served her Lord with all of her heart.

She served others constantly -- whether here, in Kentucky, in Honduras -- without asking or expected to be served. She loved her family deeply and had a sweet relationship with her mom.

I pray that my children grow up to be as loving, serving, caring, and welcoming as Clari. I pray that my children would hold on strong to their faith and their values, just as Clari always did. I pray that my children would put their faith into action they way Clari ministered to those less fortunate. Clari was an amazing young woman, gone all too soon, and we miss her greatly.

I'm so thankful that Clari knew and loved her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I'm thankful that she is no longer hurting or suffering, but that she is in heaven dancing with Jesus. I'm thankful that, as Christians, we have the assurance that this life is not all there is. "But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God." (John 1:12). I'm thankful that I will see you again my friend.

I imagine that as soon as Clari passed from this life to the next, she ran with utter abandon toward Jesus, threw herself into his arms, and as he hugged and twirled her around, he whispered in her ear, "Well done, my good and faithful servant!"

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Safe and Sound

I mentioned in my last blog post that I suddenly had to leave the Women's Holiday Dinner. It's kind of unfair for me to mention it, but not tell you the story...

Around 8:55pm on Monday night, I received a text message from my husband that something was wrong with Elise (our almost 3-year-old) and that I needed to come home right away. My husband is a rockstar with the kids and RARELY calls or texts me when I'm not around. It's awesome because I know that I can truly enjoy being out without worrying about the kids or what is happening at home -- it is a gift. For him to text me to come home meant it was a serious situation.

I grabbed my purse, ran to my car, and hurried home. As a mom, you can imagine all the thoughts that went through my head and I worked hard to fight down the panic. I tried calling my husband and sent him multiple text messages to get more information (illegally since I was driving his car and my phone wasn't hooked up to the bluetooth) but couldn't reach him. I knew he was busy taking care of our daughter and simply couldn't get to the phone or hear it. As I drove with tears in my eyes, sending out fervent prayers, I just kept quoting scripture to myself to calm myself down.

On my way home, I cross the railroad tracks on Ogden Avenue. As I got closer, the train gates came down. I was stuck. I remember praying, "Please God, just let me get home to my baby so that I know she is okay." The trains that usually go along that track usually have 100+ cars and, at that time of night, they tend to go super slow and even stop on the tracks. I texted Walter "TRAIN!! :( " and then looked up to see one car -- yes, only one train car -- go by and the gates go up. I continued on my way and got every green light (which is almost impossible to do along Ogden in Oswego). I honestly believe that God helped me get home quickly that evening.

I arrived home and rushed in to find Elise quietly sleeping in Walter's arms in the family room. She had just fallen asleep and his phone was in his office.

Elise woke up while I was gone struggling to breathe. She had no cold, not even a runny nose, but suddenly had trouble breathing. You could hear it even while she slept. I tried doing a steamy shower to help, took her out in the cold in the middle of the night (although Monday was in the 60s, so it was in the upper 40s overnight), but none of it worked. We had her sleep in our bed with us that night. We suspected that she had Croup and I took her to the doctor the next day to make sure. We had experienced Croup with my son, but he had the typical barking "seal" cough and never the stridor (breathing issues). Croup usually is caused by a cold virus moving to the vocal cords and causing them to swell, but she never had even a cold! I'm so thankful that it wasn't in her chest, it wasn't asthma, and that, even though it woke her up and sounded horrible, she was getting plenty of oxygen as she breathed.

Our God is good. As scary as the moment felt, I knew that God was in control and that he held my little girl in the palm of his hand. He was keeping her safe and calming my heart.

"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand." Isaiah 41:10

"In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you along, O LORD, will keep me safe." Psalm 4:8

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Friendships and Healing

Monday evening was the annual Women's Holiday Dinner at my church. I'll be honest, I was a little reluctant to go. I love my church and the women there, but I also struggle with women's events in general. And I feel like I struggle to connect with women at church. I know a BIG part of it is me -- I'm not always super vulnerable (I love talking with people, but I keep it a surface level) and I hate getting emotional (although, I swear I always end up crying and talking more than anyone :) ). I would rather hang out with guys and talk sports than hang out with a bunch of women. I've struggled to make strong friendships with women and many of the friendships I have developed over the years have fallen away through moves and distance. 

I mentioned recently how God has brought amazing change in my life through the relationships with my neighbors. It's funny, I often feel more connected to my neighbors who take me as I am. They actually want to spend time with me. I am real with them and they enjoy/accept me. I look forward to spending time with these women and hanging out with them...and it has nothing to do with sports! We just laugh and have fun and be

I love these women and their relationships have been incredible healing for me...although I am a little more sleep deprived from the late nights. ;) During this month of Thanksgiving, I am incredibly thankful for every single women that I have had the chance to spend time with this year.

I had a wonderful time at the Women's Dinner. I enjoyed my time and sat next to one of the ladies from my Bible Study small group. I thoroughly enjoyed talking with Becky and hanging out with her. The evening came to an abrupt end for me (another story I will post later), but I had a wonderful time. Oh, and I won a gift certificate to Naperville Running Company. Woohoo!

Monday, November 10, 2014

This Man...

This man is one of the most amazing men I know and love...he loves his family deeply... he works hard to provide for his family...he works long hours so that his wife can be at home to watch the kids...he's the first to respond to a friend in need of help -- moving houses, fixing computers, etc...he has a heart for the poor and oppressed...he is money-wise...he is introverted and quiet and often misunderstood...he is humble and caring...he is funny and fun to be around...he is athletic and outdoorsy.

This man has changed my life in so many ways...he helped me to be less judgmental, to see through the eyes of those in need, to see myself as beautiful...he has shown me what it means to be adored and loved.

This man is my husband and I am so blessed to be married to him. Today is his birthday and I pray for many more to share with him in the future.

I love you, Walter. Happy birthday!

Sunday, November 09, 2014


It's done. Finished. The end. Woohoo!

I woke up this morning at 4:45am to get ready to run the half marathon. Most of the night I slept great, but the last two hours were horrible -- I had one of those dreams where I missed my alarm, woke up at 5:25am, friends came at 5:30am, we didn't leave my house until 6:55am for the 7am race, got there late, everyone had already started, hurriedly checked my gear, and took off. I woke up shaking from the adrenaline coursing through me after that dream. Ugh. So thankful, that's not how it went. Everything went smoothly and great. Whew!

I have a love/hate relationship with taper week. I love it, because it means the race is near and I finally get a break. My life doesn't revolve around my workouts, keeping my kids preoccupied while I run, moving our schedules around. I was in the BEST mood this week. I've been needing the break.

I also hate tapering. Last night, I was filled with so much anxiety about this race -- namely how in the world would I do it or feel if the longest run I ran was two weeks ago! I mean, all I did was short runs, was I really ready? Of course I was! That's the point of tapering -- to give your body a chance to recover and make you stronger for race day. And it worked. I felt good. My Achilles and IT Band were tight, but didn't hurt at all during the race (that hasn't happened in months). My body and my brain needed the time off.

I need to learn to taper in life. There's this constant pressure to constantly be doing something and just go, go, going...until I am utterly exhausted. I need to take a week (or even just a weekend) every once in a while and just "be." A chance to mentally check out from life and just enjoy my family. As hard as it was to taper this past week, I LOVED getting the chance yesterday to finally have a Saturday morning where I just laid around in my pajamas watching cartoons and snuggling with my kids, instead of rushing out the door for a long run. I need more of those mornings. :)

I told myself to enjoy the run and I did. I enjoyed running with my neighbor and friend, Jen. My parents and best friend, Lauren, were along the course to cheer me on in the final miles and it was awesome to see them (as well as everyone else I ran into too). I'm glad it's over and I'm ready to get started on some different workouts. I enjoyed a nice hot shower when I got home and applied Ortho Sport massage oil all over my legs, along with Deep Relief and Aroma Siez on my tight hamstrings.

It was also great to get a bunch of post-race snuggles with my cuties. :)